We rattle on, debating the Fascists about whether we should cut this or tax that….Congress and the President drone on and on. Lobbyists come and go in their $40,000 automobiles and their $2,000 suits and eat at $500 a plate fund raisers for cretins who will destroy the country.
And the people go without jobs.
Every day that a person is unemployment or welfare, every day that someone is not working in a job that advances them, they are falling farther and farther behind. It is not only about possible starvation or homelessness. That is bad enough, fearsome enough. But total economic devastation, loss of any small amount of wealth, like savings, or equity in a home…absolute poverty…is the ultimate destruction.
The Republicans, the Neocons, who are the American successors to the old Fascist parties of mid-1900 Europe are out to destroy you. There is only one way that they can do it, but thus far they are succeeding.
Let’s go back to December of 2007. Thanks to a boom in speculation on housing, the country had been rolling right along. Unemployment was 5%. Unfortunately, that was not caused by a strong, vibrant economy, filled wit good jobs. It was fueled by speculation in real estate. People were already experiencing the highest number of personal bankruptcies in our history. People were refinancing their homes like crazy to keep up with their debt.
And then the economy began to experience the effects of the pop of the real estate bubble. In October 2007, the Dow had reached its peak, at more than 14,000. By December 2008, it had dropped to 8,900, including a one-day decline in late December of 680 points!
So between the beginning of 2008 and the end of 2008, the market declined by almost 50%. So how did that affect jobs, employment? What happened to employment in 2008, the last year of the Bush Administration? What did they do for you as they went out the door?
Well, unemployment went from 5% as we said at the beginning of 2008 to 7.8 percent by the end of Bush’s term. But the drop of 680 points in one day and the drop in the market kept the party going. In January of 2009, the month that President Obama took office, the economy lost 760,000 jobs. And things kept getting worse.
By March of 2009, only three months into his Presidency, the President had a stimulus in place but it was reduced in size and one third of it had to be in worthless tax cuts demanded by the Republicans or they would continue to filibuster, as they would do more than 200 times during President Obama’s tenure. Unemployment kept rising until October of 2009, when it reached 10.1% and then started its long, slow decline.
But by that time we had over 14 million people unemployed in a country where we already had tens of millions of people taking whatever job they could get and going further and further into debt. By 2009, there were 19% more families in poverty than there were in 2001. Some estimates say that we now have as many as 3 million people homeless and no one who knows anything about it says that we have fewer than 1.5 million without a place to live and largely eating at food banks and charity kitchens.
At the other end of the scale, let’s look at the top one-tenth of one percent of the roughly 140 million taxpayers in the U.S. These top 140,000 income earners in the country averaged $6 million in income and paid about 18% of all income taxes. (about $1.6 million each)
The top 1% are riding high and have been for a long time. The top 1% now take in 25% of all income and own a full 40% of all the country’s wealth…cash, stocks, bonds and non-residential land and real estate. Their average income is over $380,000 per year and has increased by 18% in real dollars over the last 25 years, while average income earners, those making about $50,000 per year, have seen a decline of 12% in their incomes over the same period.
So it is now three years after the Great Bush Depression started. And what have the Democrats done about jobs?
First, they passed through the Stimulus (ARRA) that created 2 million jobs. Don’t believe the Democrats or this blog. Go to Whitehouse.gov and you’ll be directed to a web site that was created by the people who created the jobs. You can also Google stimulus jobs and you’ll probably get some of those P.R. releases where GOP House Members and Senators are lapping up the publicity for jobs that they didn’t vote for and now claim never existed.
Second, they tried to stop American corporations from getting an incentive to send jobs overseas. The Republicans blocked it. So now, American corporations get a tax break for sending jobs abroad. Thank you, Dick Cheney.
Third they tried to create more jobs with the Small Business Jobs Act. The Republicans blocked it. It would have given billions to local banks to invest in small to medium-sized businesses and would have created hundreds of thousands, if not a million, jobs.
Fourth, they tried to get more benefits for homeless veterans. This would give homeless veterans the ability to stabilize their situations, get some counseling, and move on with their lives by getting back into the workforce. The Republicans blocked it.
Fifth, they tried to get the people of the Gulf Coast back into action with the Oil Spill Liability Act which would have made the oil companies that created the spills pay some money to get things back to normal. The Republicans blocked it.
There are six dozen ways we can fund new job creation. Let’s just take two easy ones. First, let’s close the loopholes only able to be used by global corporations who move their headquarters abroad. Sixteen thousand of these corporations are headquartered in one building in the Caribbean. The only reason they are there is that they get a tax deduction for some crazy Bush Administration reason for being there. That alone could create much of the funds needed to jump start the economy.
The second thing we could do is insure that all corporations paid a minimum tax of some kind. For example, lets say that a company has a certain minimum in sales revenues, say $2,500,000. They would pay ten percent in taxes…or $250,000. So, for the privilege of doing business and being able to live in this country while making enormous sums of money, it costs your company one dollar out of every ten. That sounds like a bargain.
We can create jobs. We need to build our infrastructure. We need advanced math education for our high school kids. We need to inspect homes and buildings and create conservation measures to bring down oil and natural gas consumption. We need to create more switchgrass and other forms of alternative fuels and build new electric vehicles and flex-fuel vehicles. These are simple things that can be done for modest investments.
But there is only one way to get them done. Every single Republican must be voted out of office in the Senate and the House. Get rid of all of them. Then we’ll make prudent investments, eventually raise taxes to the Clinton era levels when everyone was getting rich, and end the stupid wars that are draining our energy and our morale.
Step one is up to you. If you want jobs–work tirelessly at one job right now….the job of voting Republicans out of office!